International Success & World Records for Warrnambool Rower Aaron Skinner

During the week of October 12-19th, 1000 athletes from fifty different countries traveled to Brisbane to compete in the 2019 INAS (International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability) Global Games. 

Amongst these elite athletes was Warrnambool local and WDEA WorksE-waste employee Aaron Skinner. The INAS Games are held every four years and are the world’s largest sporting event for elite athletes with an intellectual impairment 

Aaron represented Australia as part of the rowing team, the only Victorian in the rowing squad of ten competitors. 

Aaron performed impressively winning: 

  •        Silver in the Men’s Single Scull 500m
  •        Silver in the Mixed Double Scull1000m partnering with Steph Walker
  •        Silver in the Men’s Double Scull 1000m partnering with Nikolai Olding
  •        Silver in the Men’s Double Scull 500m partnering with Nikolai Olding
  •        Silver in the Mixed Four (coxed) 500m
  •        Bronze in the Mixed Four (coxed) 1000m
Aaron Skinner Podium Photo

Although no stranger to rowing in an elite setting having competed at National Titles every year since 2007 and represented Victoria on three occasions. This was Aaron’s first time representing Australia in an international setting. The INAS Games provide a competition where rowers with an intellectual disability can compete in an international setting; currently, there is no provision within the Paralympic games for rowers with an intellectual disability. 

Following the INAS Games on Sunday, October 27th, Aaron returned to Melbourne to compete in the Australian Indoor Rowing Championships (AIRC). Here Aaron won gold in his three events the 4 minute, 500 m and 2000 m in the PR3 ID, 19-29 year age group. This event was held Australia wide in each capital city and is also an international event. 

The results are compiled for world records and overall winners. Aaron now also holds the Concept 2 Indoor Rower world record for the 4 minute erg for PR3 ID 19-29, as well as world record for the 4 minute erg for PR3 19-29 overall. 

Aaron aged 28, has been rowing for fifteen years, he took up the sport through MPower Active Ocean program (now Disrow) at the Nestles Rowing Club. As a teenager; Aaron developed his skills quickly and has participated in both the Single Scull and the Double Scull (with long-time partner, Chris Murray) at Club, State and National Championships on many occasions. 

He has also participated as a team member in mainstream club regattas in both sculling and sweep oared rowing events. “Aaron has always represented his club, his state and now his Country with great pride and competitive skill.  The Nestles Rowing Club is very proud of his achievements over such a long time.  He is an inspiration to us all.” Said Val Bertrand, Head Coach at Nestles Rowing Club 

Rowing is a sport where balance, timing, rhythm and teamwork are paramount.  It is a challenging sport at the top level and training needs to be constant.  Aaron currently trains 3-5 times per week to maintain his elite rowing fitness and technique. 

Aaron Skinner Rowing

The Disrow division of the Nestles Rowing Club had now grown to cater for all types of disability. Each Disrow rower requires individual coaching to achieve their best.  Aaron being nonverbal; communicates with thumbs up or thumbs down.  Together with his club coach (Tom Bertrand) they have worked out the trigger points to assist Aaron to perform at his optimum. 

Aaron is also a valued supported employee and team member at the WDEA WorksE-waste Enterprise in Warrnambool. Here Aaron works with the team dismantling electrical goods so that their individual parts can be recycled.  “Working at WDEA WorksE-waste has helped improve Aaron’s fine motor and social skills. Working in a group setting also helps with his communication skills and gives him a sense of achievement and belonging” said Aarons mum Serina Skinner. 

Rowing at an elite level is a significant financial investment with the cost of travel, flights, fuel, accommodation to frequent interstate training camps and temporary relocation interstate to train with team members plus the costs of equipment and training. WDEA Works was proud to sponsor Aaron in his most recent competition. 

“Aaron is an important member of the WDEA Enterprise eWaste team and we were pleased to be able to provide some support towards his competition in the INAS Games. WDEA Works Enterprises is extremely proud of Aaron, we have and will always continue to support Aaron on his amazing achievements and his continued journey to success. 

Aaron is an inspiration and a role model for the rest of our Supported Employees as well as the greater community, you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it!” said Susan Hill WDEA Works NDIS Programs Participant Service Coordinator. 

 

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